I allude to it in the videos, but what was so important about 80/20 that I decided to name my instructional platform after it?
First, let's define 80/20 properly. In the video I say it's a principle by which a small amount of input is responsible for a lot of output, and that's true, but let's add some context.
Think about averages.
In the US, if you were industrious, you could compute the average height. You could compute the average income. But let's look deeper. How close to the average are how many people? In statistics class, we learned the "bell curve", which assumes the closer you get to the average, the higher the numbers. In practice this should mean that if the average height of adults is five feet, and height has a "standard distribution", there will be TONs of people that are 4'11" and 5'1", fewer that are 4'6" and 5'6", and still fewer four and five-footers.
Many systems follow standard distribution, but some do not.
Imagine a different arrangement of height. Imagine, for instance, that the overwhelming majority of people were only three feet tall, and a tiny minority were one hundred feet tall. If the numbers were just right you could still arrive at an average of five feet, but with a very different distribution from the bell curve. This is called Power Law distribution. It's also called 80/20.
Too abstract? It turns out many systems in nature don't follow a standard distribution at all, but instead an 80/20, or even more extreme (95/5) power law distribution. Income, in real life, is distributed as such, with a small minority making the bulk the wealth. Crime often follows 80/20, with a small number of offenders responsible for an outsized proportion of offenses.
And personal productivity, learning, and practice are far more likely to follow 80/20 than standard distribution. Everything you do in your life doesn't have relatively equal effect. A few things you're doing have tremendous effect, while many others have practically none.
Which brings us to musical instruments, and specifically to drumming. While it's true no one can become world class without thousands of hours in the practice room, not all hours are created equal. It turns out that some things you practice have tremendous impact, while others have hardly any at all.
Here are some small things that have outsized impact
-learning new skills, one-at-a-time, and at the appropriate pace.
-choosing a challenging but reachable goal, analyzing the differences between where you are and where you'd like to be, and working backward to deconstruct and invent exercises.
-identifying and practicing idioms likely to reoccur frequently in real life and/or single skills that improve multiple modalities at once.
And here are some good ways to eat up time without getting better
-continuing to practice a skill long after it's reasonably comfortable.
-practicing abstractions like rudiments without context and application tools.
-trying to learn something way over your head and giving up before it sounds good (practicing bad habits) or trying to master too many new skills at once and giving up before any sound good.
Any of these sound familiar?